Euro 2016: Guide to the groups and full fixture list

Euro 2016: Guide to the groups and full fixture list

England will look to take their 100% qualification record form into Euro 2016, when hosts France will aim to prevent Germany and Spain from winning a record fourth title…

The draw for Euro 2016 took place in France on Saturday afternoon, and it has thrown up some intriguing clashes such as the home nation meeting between England and Wales, the battle of two hot favourites in Belgium and Italy, whilst Northern Ireland must take on world champions Germany in their group. Below is a summary of each group, followed the full fixtures.

Group A

Anything other than a first place finish for hosts France will be something of a major shock in Group A, which also includes Romania, Albania and Switzerland. Les Bleus have won the tournament on two prior occasions, in 2000 and the last time it was held on home soil back in 1984. With promising youngsters such as Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane, and the in-form Olivier Giroud leading the line, Didier Deschamps side have to be considered one of the favourites for the tournament. For Albania, this is their first ever time at a major tournament, whilst the Romanians and the Swiss would be glad to match their previous best of reaching the quarter-finals.

10 Jun
France v Romania
21.00 (CET), Paris (Saint-Denis)
11 Jun
Albania v Switzerland
15.00 (CET), Lens
15 Jun
Romania v Switzerland
18.00 (CET), Paris
France v Albania
21.00 (CET), Marseille
19 Jun
Romania v Albania
21.00 (CET), Lyon
Switzerland v France
21.00 (CET), Lille

Group B

England – who have never won the European Championships but made the semi-finals on home soil in 1996 – reached the Finals having won every one of their qualifying matches, and they will fancy their chances of topping their group after being drawn with Russia, Slovakia and Wales. The match with the latter will catch the attention of the public, and with Gareth Bale in their ranks Chris Coleman’s side are capable of causing an upset. This is the first European Championships the Welsh will appear at, which is the same for Slovakia. The Russians reached the last four at Euro 2008, where they were taken apart by eventual winners Spain who emerged as 3-0 winners in Vienna.

11 Jun
Wales v Slovakia
18.00 (CET), Bordeaux
England v Russia
21.00 (CET), Marseille
15 Jun
Russia v Slovakia
15.00 (CET), Lille
16 Jun
England v Wales
15.00 (CET), Lens
20 Jun
Russia v Wales
21.00 (CET), Toulouse
Slovakia v England
21.00 (CET), Saint-Étienne

Group C

Germany wrestled the World Cup from Spain last summer, and they will now look to do the same at the European Championships. And Joachim Low’s side are certainly one of the favourites to lift the trophy, which would be for a fourth time, and should make light work of reaching the knockout stages. For Northern Ireland this is the first time they have made the Finals, and Michael O’Neill knows to go any further will likely depend on their fixtures with Ukraine and Poland, neither of whom have previously made it past the group stages. If the latter can count upon a firing Robert Lewandowski, though, they will possess one of the most lethal strikers in world football.

12 Jun
Poland v Northern Ireland
18.00 (CET), Nice
Germany v Ukraine
21.00 (CET), Lille
16 Jun
Ukraine v Northern Ireland
18.00 (CET), Lyon
Germany v Poland
21.00 (CET), Paris (Saint-Denis)
21 Jun
Ukraine v Poland
18.00 (CET), Marseille
Northern Ireland v Germany
18.00 (CET), Paris

Group D

Having triumphed at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 – sandwiched with the World Cup in between – Spain had a disastrous time last summer when they were eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage. Vicente del Bosque will be anxious to avoid similar woes this time round, but they won’t have it easy in a group containing Czech Republic and Turkey – who have in the past made the last four – and Croatia, whose best showing was in 2008 when they reached the quarter-finals. This could prove to be one of the most entertaining of all groups, in a draw which provided plenty of appeal.

12 Jun
Turkey v Croatia
15.00 (CET), Paris
13 Jun
Spain v Czech Republic
15.00 (CET), Toulouse
17 Jun
Czech Republic v Croatia
18.00 (CET), Saint-Étienne
Spain v Turkey
21.00 (CET), Nice
21 Jun
Czech Republic v Turkey
21.00 (CET), Lens
Croatia v Spain
21.00 (CET), Bordeaux

Group E

The Republic of Ireland failed to make it through the group stages in either of the two previous times they made the Finals, and few will be giving them much hope of doing so this time round. In their way stand current world number one and 1980 runners-up Belgium, who many will expect to go close or even win the tournament, and Italy who will be amongst the favourites to lift a trophy they last won back in 1968 in their own backyard. As if this isn’t hard enough, Martin O’Neill’s men must also find a way past 1992 semi-finalists Sweden and the brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

13 Jun
Republic of Ireland v Sweden
18.00 (CET), Paris (Saint-Denis)
Belgium v Italy
21.00 (CET), Lyon
17 Jun
Italy v Sweden
15.00 (CET), Toulouse
18 Jun
Belgium v Republic of Ireland
15.00 (CET), Bordeaux
22 Jun
Italy v Republic of Ireland
21.00 (CET), Lille
Sweden v Belgium
21.00 (CET), Nice

Group F

Portugal head to the Finals on the back of seven successive qualifying wins, although despite boasting the free-scoring talent of Cristiano Ronaldo, they scored just 11 goals in reaching France. They aren’t amongst the elite favourites, but having come close on home soil in 2004 and having reached the semi-finals on two other occasions, could they be dark horses this time? As co-hosts in 2008 Austria failed to win a single game, but they won nine of their 10 in qualification and will certainly have targeted a last-16 place at least. Hungary – who finished third in 1964 – failed to qualify for the Finals on each of their last 10 attempts, and only did so this time round by virtue of the playoffs after winning just four of their 10 qualifying matches. As for Iceland – with their population of just 330,000 – getting this far is remarkable enough and they will appear in a major tournament for the first time.

14 Jun
Austria v Hungary
18.00 (CET), Bordeaux
Portugal v Iceland
21.00 (CET), Saint-Étienne
18 Jun
Iceland v Hungary
18.00 (CET), Marseille
Portugal v Austria
21.00 (CET), Paris
22 Jun
Iceland v Austria
18.00 (CET), Paris (Saint-Denis)
Hungary v Portugal
18.00 (CET), Lyon

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